See the Sistine Chapel as You’ve Never Seen It Before—Inside the Oculus at the World Trade Center

If you haven’t made it yet to New York City’s newest landmark, the nearly $4 billion Santiago Calatrava-designed Oculus at the World Trade Center—it’s the world’s most expensive train station—here’s an added incentive to head downtown: For one month only, the soaring, light-filled space will play host to nearly full-size replicas of Michelangelo’s famed Sistine Chapel frescoes.

“I’ve been to the Sistine Chapel every year for at least 20 years,” said art historian Lynn Catterson at a press preview of the exhibition, titled “Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.” “This is fabulous, this is fun, and I’ve seen things that I’ve never noticed.”

Walking journalists through the show, she pointed to details in the giant images that you might even miss in the original. For instance, there are staples attempting to repair cracks in the chapel ceilings, and, among the crowds of figures, individualized-looking faces that are undoubtedly the artist’s attempts to  slip portraits of people he knew into the massive work surreptitiously.

“It can never replace the work, but photographic documentation is critical,” especially when the original is as old and fragile as the Sistine Chapel, Catterson added.

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Chris Alexakisart